Focus on the Heart (excerpted from The Fragrance of Faith, by Jamal Rahman)
The Qur'an continuously mentions focusing on the heart: "Bring to God a sound heart, a heart that can respond."
There's a direct revelation from God to Prophet Muhammad called Hadith Qudsi where God says: I cannot be contained in the space of the earth, I cannot be contained in the space of the heavens, But I can be contained in the space of the pure loving heart.
Divine heart is in human heart. And so the work at all times is what mystics and sages would call to open a window from human heart to divine heart. As Rumi says,
Close down speech's door and open up the heart's window! The moon will only kiss you through the window.
The practice is very simple: As often as you can, keep your attention on your heart, your mindfulness, your focus; whether you're speaking or engaged in some action, at all times—in your waking hours, in your meditative state—can you keep a part of your attention on your heart. And second, if possible, from time to time, tell your heart, with feeling, with emotion, "I love you," or "I'm willing to love you," or "I cherish you." If you keep doing this, it really opens up the window between human heart and divine heart. Simply keep the focus on the heart at all times—waking hours, meditative times—and from time to time tell the heart with feeling, "I love you," or "I'm willing to love you," or "I cherish you."
Verses for Contemplation
Focus your attention on the following verses:
Nothing reaches the heart Except that which is from the heart. —ancient Sufi wisdom
Surely we belong to God, and to God we return. (Arabic:“In nallahiwainnailayhi rajiun.”)
Try to find practical ways to implement this heart-work in your daily life.You can also look for verses in all the faith traditions that express the same idea, that resonate with you.
Here are more verses from the Qur’an that revolve around the heart:
I cannot be contained in the space of the earth, I cannot be contained in the space of the heavens, But I can be contained in the space Of the pure and loving heart of my servant. —Hadith Qudsi
God guides to himself all who turn to him; those who have faith, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of God, for truly, in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest. —Qur’an: 13:28
The true human being is one who is humble before the unseen and brings a heart that can respond. —Qur'an 50:33
Surely my creator is all merciful, all love. —Qur'an 11:90
I concerned myself to remember God, to know him and to seek him. When I came to the end I saw that he had remembered me Before I had remembered him, That his knowledge of me had preceded my knowledge of him, That his love toward me had existed before my love to him, And that he had sought me before I sought him. —ancient Sufi wisdom
If you get irritated by every rub How will the mirror of your heart ever be polished? —Rumi
Come, take a pick axe and break open your stony heart. The heart’s matrix is glutted with rubies. Springs of laughter are buried in your chest. —Rumi